Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
The country's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists says women should be able to purchase birth control pills without a prescription.
A doctors group says women should be able to buy birth control over the counter and without a prescription.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that changing the way women get the pill could reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Right now, about half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned.
If the recommendation is adopted, women could buy birth control pills alongside cough syrup and aspirin on pharmacy shelves.
In the past, some doctors have been resistant to the idea, citing concerns that women would skip their annual pap smear if they didn't need to refill a birth control prescription.
There are also concerns about some of the more serious side effects of birth control pills.
"I do think there needs to be a better option for people to get birth control, because people can't afford to go to the doctor and don't have time to go to doctor," said Dr. Linda Bernstein, a Fort Worth obstetrician-gynecologist.
"But there are certain people that definitely shouldn't be taking birth control pills, and those people we more need to worry about ... may not know they have a problem to start with," she said.
Women should not take the pill if they are pregnant or have certain conditions such as breast cancer or high blood pressure.
Government permission is still needed by any firm that would want to sell the pill without prescriptions.
Bernstein said she doesn't expect it to happen any time soon.
"I think that doctors, the government and drug companies need to do a lot more work before this is even possible," she said.